Okay before I begin this post can we have a collective FUCK YES for Christmas being 3 days away?! I’m so excited for this year, maybe because it’s the first year I’ve lived with my boyfriend so the lead up has been extra special, or maybe it’s because I love every gift I’ve bought for people.
Anyway, Brussels (don’t worry, you’re not escaping the YES CHRISTMAS vibes just yet). I’ve passed through Brussels before, on my way to Bruges in 2013. It was 6am, I’d just spent more hours than anyone would like to on a coach, and the clubs were just about kicking out and everyone was fighting. As you can probs gather, my impression of Brussels wasn’t the best.
Cut to 2016, when my friend found £19 flights and a cheap air B&B, and so a group of us headed off to see what Brussels was all about. We flew with Ryanair, hand luggage only, and while not at all luxury it was exactly what we wanted. Cheap, no fuss flights and no delays! Ryanair and Easyjet do some great fares to European cities, which are absolutely perfect for cheap weekend breaks – just be careful with Ryanair as they often fly to airports that are quite far away from the city centre so watch out you don’t get stung by expensive transfers.
The first thing I noticed about Brussels is how similar it feels to home. The weather was similar, the food was similar, and until we reached the very centre, the buildings were really similar too. It’s lovely, but it’s not something out of the pages of a fairytale.
Obviously the Christmas markets were the main reason we went – and the whole city felt so festive and jolly. They’re not huge, but there’s enough of them that you can spend a weekend mooching around. In terms of a size comparison, I’d say they’re smaller than Manchester’s Christmas markets.
Speaking of Manchester Christmas Markets, which smell amazing don’t get me wrong, the smells in Brussels are divine. So mouthwatering. It probably helps that Belgian is famous for Chocolate, but everywhere I turned there were wafts of waffles, crepes, fries, chocolate, mulled wine. Obviously I sampled all of the above and can confirm – A M A Z I N G.
But let’s take a minute to talk chocolate. Belgian Chocolate is renowned for its taste, and as you’d expect every other shop in the capital is dedicated to chocolate. Truffles and slabs and blocks and boxes and crazy ones that look like the Brussels famous ‘pissing man’ statue. Every size and shape you can think of. And it was glorious.
There was chocolate on waffles, chocolate on crepes, churros with chocolate dip, hot chocolate. There were chocolatiers with such history, who you could watch as they worked on their next batch.
SO MUCH CHOCOLATE. Genuinely surprised how I didn’t come home 10 stone heavier (but then again, I haven’t actually weighed myself so entirely possible).
And without going into details of where we ate and which bars we sat in and what time we napped, the weekend overall was so relaxing and funny. There’s nothing quite like being in an apartment with your best pals, laughing until the AM and eating everything good in the world. We explored, we drank, we wrapped up warm in hats and scarves and wandered a town filled with festive spirit. We watched the Christmas parade, and the big light show in the central square (which, btw, is absolutely gorgeous – filled with gothic buildings and a giant, glowing Christmas tree).
We ate, we drank, and we were merry.
And I can’t wait to do it again next year.